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Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012 with SAILOR on board

November 04, 2011

The six strong Volvo Open 70 fleet will start tommorow, November 5, in Alicante the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012 to Cape Town, with a full complement of Thrane & Thrane SAILOR communication systems on board. The big start of tomorrow comes after an action packed opening week of in-port racing that saw the SAILOR domes aft of Team Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s Volvo Open 70 cross the line over 40 minutes ahead of second place Puma Ocean Racing in the first competitive racing of this campaign.

SAILOR 500 FleetBroadband

SAILOR 500 FleetBroadband

The scope of supply for the 2011-2012 race fleet includes SAILOR 500 FleetBroadband, SAILOR 150 FleetBroadband, two SAILOR mini-C systems and VHF radios. Race umpire ribs are equipped with SAILOR VHF fixed radios and organisers carry SAILOR handheld VHF radios during in-port races and the start of every leg. In addition, Volvo Ocean Race’s travelling media teams use EXPLORER 700 BGAN terminals for broadband back-up connections from various shore based spots along the race course.

The SAILOR 500 FleetBroadband will be the central communication hub for each Volvo Open 70 during the race. Its dual role will be to provide the means for navigators to download weather data, which is vital for competitive performance and for Media Crew Members (MCM) to upload race footage, reports and interviews for television and web, helping to grow support for ocean racing on a global basis. The SAILOR 6110 mini-Cs and SAILOR 150 FleetBroadband will also support the media efforts as the yacht telemetry they deliver will be used to create accurate, real-time 3D models for the VOR website and broadcasting.

“I will shoot nearly an hour’s footage a day and have to send between two to four minutes worth back to Volvo for use on the web and television. Once it’s compressed it will only take about 20 minutes to send, which isn’t bad considering it will take that long no matter where we are,” explains Yann Riou, the Team Groupama MCM. “The SAILOR 500 FleetBroadband handles it easily and we’ve been using it without any issues since last winter, so we’re confident that it’s going to perform reliably throughout the race. Having the SAILOR 150 FleetBroadband on board is a great help too. It’s always connected so I’m able to send photos, blogs and articles back to Volvo HQ with ease.”

“The Volvo Ocean Race is a truly global event so our coverage has to be as good in Asia as it is in Europe and North America,” adds Jordi Neves, Technical Director, Volvo Ocean Race. “With professional MCMs recording the action on board and the SAILOR systems used for submission into the content distribution network we’re confident that we can deliver a continuous flow of high quality action for the fans.”

Thrane & Thrane is the Official Sponsor of Satellite and Radio Communications Equipment for the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012. This is the third consecutive Volvo Ocean Race that the company has taken on responsibility for providing reliable satellite and radio communication systems to the cutting-edge fleet of Volvo Open 70s, race organisers and officials.

“The Volvo Ocean Race is a great place to demonstrate the kind of extreme environments that we design our equipment to operate in. You could say it’s the ultimate test of SAILOR equipment, but we know it’s already proven in some pretty tough environments and are more than happy for the teams and the oceans to put it through its paces. We’re confident it will just keep on working no matter what they throw at it,” concludes Lars Thrane, co-founder of Thrane & Thrane.

IMOCA Open 60 sailing yacht Akena Vérandas´ mast broken

November 04, 2011

Around 0330hrs (UTC/GMT) this Friday morning skipper Arnaud Boissières confirmed that the mast of their IMOCA Open 60 sailing yacht Akena Vérandas had broken some 270 miles WNW of the Breton peninsula. The duo had been in ninth place in the Transat Jacques Vabre double handed Transatlantic race which started at Le Havre, France on Wednesday.

IMOCA Open 60 sailing yacht Akena Veradas

IMOCA Open 60 sailing yacht Akena Vérandas

Arnaud Boissières reported that both he and Akena Vérandas yacht’s co-skipper Gérald Veniard were uninjured. The mast is said to have broken in several places and the duo have managed to retain only a deck spreader, the boom and a short piece of tube. They are making progress towards the French coast around 2.5 kts. “We are not hurt other than our pride. There was a very large crack. It was as if we had hit a cliff at ten knots. The mast is broken in several places.” Reported Boissieres to his team early this morning.

Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12: Nortek navigation capability to PUMA Ocean Racing Team

November 03, 2011

The Norwegian Nortek AS, a company developing, manufacturing and distributing acoustic Doppler products, communicated today that it has cooperated with the PUMA Ocean Racing team to create a modified compact Doppler Velocity Log (DVL) for PUMA’s sailing yacht Mar Mostro Volvo Open 70 competing in the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012. The project, which was finished the last year, has brought the successful integration of yacht speed, leeway and in-situ ocean current readings, a secret weapon in the battle to go as fast and efficiently as possible.

PUMA´s Mar Mostro Volvo Open 70 yacht

PUMA´s sailing yacht Mar Mostro Volvo Open 70 - Credit G. Bekris


“The collaboration between Nortek and the entire PUMA team has resulted in an tool that provides unique information to the sailing crew. They can now measure leeway, a first in sailing, and use it to measure ocean currents much more precisely than ever before,” said Atle Lohrmann, CTO of Nortek.

Nortek started developing this capability during the 2008 Star class Olympic trials with the Norwegian team skippered by Eivind Melleby, also a veteran of the Volvo Ocean Race. Nortek went on to work with the TP52 ocean racing team Caixa Galicia with a predecessor to the existing sensor with Caixa navigator Robert Hopkins.

“This is the biggest advancement in sailing instrumentation since the invention of the GPS,” said Hopkins, who runs performance testing for PUMA and worked with Nortek on the project. “Nortek adapted their new DVL technology to our sailing performance needs, to measure very high speeds along the yacht’s track and very low speeds across it. With Nortek’s history of deploying instruments on buoys in hostile Arctic conditions, we knew that we could trust the Nortek DVL in a race around the world.”

PUMA yacht Mar Mostro running

PUMA´s yacht Mar Mostro running

Leeway is the sideways skidding angle a yacht makes as it sails forward. Leeway can be changed on a Volvo Open 70 yacht by adjusting the daggerboard immersion and canting the keel. The adjustable daggeboards and keel act like wings underwater to counteract the force of the sails. The crew relies on Nortek DVL leeway measurements to optimize PUMA’s sailing yacht Mar Mostro performance at all times, providing the core data upon which every other performance measurement is based.

“I can’t tell you how important it is to finally know how fast the yacht is going in all conditions. We really feel this is the first time yacht speed has been accurately measured without using various types of cumbersome and complex tables within the yacht’s instrumentation. It’s a huge factor for something as simple as a sail change or as complex as routing,” said Ken Read, skipper of the PUMA Ocean Racing team. “Nortek and our entire team, especially the shore crew, worked diligently to make this project a reality. The technology already helped us to win the Transatlantic Race in July, and it will be a key component as we race around the world.”

The Nortek DVL uses acoustic techniques to measure water velocity along each of the four beams. The sensor is mounted in the bottom of the lead bulb of the keel. The acoustic beams are oriented forward, aft and abeam.  Data from each beam is streamed to the on board computer which also receives data from the inertial motion sensor and the keel cant angle sensor. Velocity and orientation measurements are then used to output true forward yacht speed and leeway. Real time currents can be directly estimated by differencing the GPS yacht speed over ground and the yacht speed through the water.

Similar systems were developed for the seismic survey fleet and Nortek recently delivered the first operational navigation system to Fugro-Geoteam in Oslo to be mounted on two Barovane seismic diverters. The diverters keep the towed acoustic streamers separated and like the Puma-DVL, the system measures the angle of attack, the through water speed and ocean currents near the surface. The difference was the space available for the acoustic transponder. “We worked very hard to miniaturize the DVL unit that was installed aboard PUMA’s Mar Mostro yacht,” stated Lohrmann.

The project is an important milestone for Nortek because it demonstrates how well the acoustic Doppler technology performs in very challenging conditions and that the system can be fully integrated into modern navigation systems. The fact that the PUMA Ocean Racing technology team was able to integrate the DVL with other sensors on the yacht is a testament to the quality and sophistication of modern yacht racing.

The PUMA Ocean Racing team sets out on the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012 on Saturday, November 5, departing Alicante, Spain, for Cape Town, South Africa. The 11-member crew will travel 39,000 nautical miles over nine months, sailing from Alicante to Cape Town, and on to Abu Dhabi, UAE; Sanya, China; Auckland, New Zealand; around Cape Horn to Itajaí, Brazil; to Miami, Florida, USA; Lisbon, Portugal; Lorient, France, finishing in Galway, Ireland in July 2012.

Transatlantic Superyacht Regatta – Transatlantic Maxi Yacht Cup 2011

October 31, 2011

The entry list for the Transatlantic Superyacht & Maxi Yacht Regatta which starts on the 21st November 2011 is growing with a total of nine sailing yacht giants confirmed to assemble in Tenerife in less than one month’s time.  The 2011 Transatlantic Superyacht Regatta – Transatlantic Maxi Yacht Cup is scheduled to leave Santa Cruz in Tenerife (Spain) on 21st November destined for Virgin Gorda (British Virgin Islands) and the new winter base of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS). The event, organized by the International Maxi Association (IMA) and the YCCS with the collaboration of Real Club Nautico de Tenerife, will see participating yachts cover approximately 2700 nautical miles and encounter varied wind and sea conditions.

YCCS Marina Virgin Gorda - Photo Credit Superyacht Media

YCCS Marina Virgin Gorda - Photo Credit Superyacht Media

A wide range of maxi yachts will be competing in the 2011 Transatlantic Superyacht Regatta – Transatlantic Maxi Yacht Cup: the largest boats in the fleet are the newly launched 66 metre Dykstra-designed ketch superyacht Hetairos on her first regatta outing; the 54.35 metre S/Y Shenandoah of Sark, a legendary yacht launched in 1902, and sailing yacht Zefira, owned by Italian Salvatore Trifirò. The fleet also includes the 35 metre Sojana charter yacht, owned by Peter Harrison, skippered by Marc Fitzgerald and winner of last year’s edition of the Transatlantic Maxi Yacht Cup, and Tobias Koenig’s Grey Goose of Rorc, a Swan 82. Andrea Recordati’s Indio and Carla Comelli’s Kenora will represent both Italy and the Wally class. The “smallest” in the fleet are the 18.20 metre Swan 60 Emma, owned by Johann Killinger, and the 20.2 metre Karuba V. After leaving Tenerife the participating yachts will be looking to pick up on the northeast trade winds between approximately 30° latitude and the equator which generally blow at a steady 11 to 15 knots. As the maxis near Virgin Gorda and the finish line the more gentle Alizé Caribbean trade wind will kick in and crews can expect to be accompanied by 10 to 12 knots of north easterly winds.

Sailing yacht Zefira racing off Virgin Gorda - Photo Credit Superyacht Media

Sailing yacht Zefira racing off Virgin Gorda - Photo Credit Superyacht Media

The Transatlantic Superyacht Regatta – Transatlantic Maxi Yacht Cup 2011 is perfectly timed to tie in with the traditional transfers from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean for the winter charter season and will have participants arriving on the other side of the Atlantic as the superyacht racing season kicks off there. Many of the participating yachts also plan to participate in the Caribbean Superyacht Regatta and Rendezvous organized by the YCCS and Boat International Media in Virgin Gorda in March 2012.

Trophies will be awarded at the prize giving ceremony scheduled to take place on 8th December where participants will enjoy a special sneak preview of the services and hospitality of the newly opened YCCS Clubhouse. The YCCS Virgin Gorda Clubhouse will be officially inaugurated on 3rd January 2012 while the purpose built YCCS Marina has been operational since March 2011.

A satellite tracking system accessible online will keep fans and supporters up to date on each yacht’s progress for the duration of the race.

Provisional Entry List for the Transatlantic Superyacht Regatta – Transatlantic Maxi Yacht Cup 2011

Yacht Name – Owner – LOA, Type

Sailing yacht Emma – Johann Killinger – 18.2, Swan 60

S/Y Grey Goose of Rorc – Tobias Koenig – 24.89, Swan 82

Yacht Hetairos – Panamax Ltd – 66.0, Baltic

Karuba V – Magma Int Ltd – 20.07, X-Yachts

Kenora, Long Beach Ltd – 30.44, Wally

Indio – Andrea Recordati – 30.5, Wally

Charter yacht Sojana – Peter Harrison – 35.0, Farr

Classic yacht Shenandoah of Sark – Misty Skies Ltd – 54.35, Townsend

Superyacht Zefira – Salvatore Trifirò – 49.7, Dubois

About the event

The Transatlantic Maxi Yacht Cup was created in 2007 and then run in 2009 and in 2010. The event was created by Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in collaboration with IMA in response to requests from owners for a transatlantic race dedicated specifically to maxi yachts. The regatta is also part of the IMA’s efforts to establish a seasonal circuit for maxis that will allow owners to compete in summer offshore events in the Mediterranean and Europe before moving to the Caribbean for the traditional winter racing season.

2011 RORC Season’s Points Championship Winners

October 12, 2011

When the 300 places for the Rolex Fastnet Race were filled within 10 days of the entries opening, it became obvious that 2011 would be a notable year for offshore racing with the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC). With 300 miles of offshore racing required from each boat before the start of the Fastnet, the early season races were well subscribed with entries and over 100 boats entered three of the qualifying races. Hopes of an easy qualification for the main race of the season (Rolex Fastnet) were dashed by the weather early on. Strong winds and lumpy seas characterised the races and tested the crews and their yachts thoroughly.

Yacht of the Year – Somerset Memorial Trophy:

Rán, JV 72 – Niklas Zennström (GBR)

Yacht of the Year for 2011 has been awarded to Niklas Zennström's JV 72, sailing yacht Rán Credit RolexCarlo Borlenghi

Yacht of the Year for 2011 has been awarded to Niklas Zennström's JV 72, sailing yacht Rán Credit RolexCarlo Borlenghi

The Somerset Memorial Trophy for the Yacht of the Year for 2011 has been awarded to Niklas Zennström’s JV 72, Rán. Niklas and his crew have had an outstanding season, winning IRC Overall in the Rolex Fastnet Race in consecutive years, the first time this has been achieved since Carina II in 1955 and 1957. Rán also won the Rolex Mini Maxi World Series for the second year in the row as well as obtaining a good result in the Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race. Rán is currently planning to head to the Caribbean over the winter to race and the team are looking forward to competing in the RORC Caribbean 600.

Best Performance of a British Yacht Overseas – Dennis P Miller Trophy:

British Soldier, A 40 – Army Sailing Association (GBR)

The Dennis P Miller Trophy for the performance of a British Yacht Overseas, has been awarded to British Soldier. Skippered by Lt Col Nick Bate, the yacht travelled from the UK to the Caribbean to compete in the RORC Caribbean 600 as the first race of the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series in which it was the smallest yacht. They then competed in the Annapolis-Newport Race, Transatlantic Race (Newport to Lizard) and Rolex Fastnet Race, covering 11,000 miles. The yacht had a different crew for each race, including an injured soldier/amputee in each event. In total, 69 soldiers took part, only four of whom had ever crossed an ocean before.

Sail yacht British Soldier, the Army Sailing Association's yacht wins the Dennis P Miller Trophy for best performance of a British yacht overseas Credit Tim Wright - www.photoaction.com

Sail yacht British Soldier, the Army Sailing Association's yacht wins the Dennis P Miller Trophy for best performance of a British yacht overseas Credit Tim Wright - www.photoaction.com

In the IRC Classes the best five offshore races are counted towards the RORC Season’s Points Championship. These were heavily contested and in some of the classes, the results were undecided until after the Cherbourg Race, the last race of the season.

IRC Overall – Jazz Trophy: Tonnerre de Breskens 3, Ker 46 – Piet Vroon (NED)

2011 IRC Overall Winners - Piet Vroon's Tonnerre de Breskens 3 Credit Owen Buggy - www.plugphotography.com

2011 IRC Overall Winners - Piet Vroon's Tonnerre de Breskens 3 Credit Owen Buggy - www.plugphotography.com

As in 2010, Piet Vroon’s Ker 46, Tonnerre de Breskens 3 swept the board in IRC Overall, finishing the season 62.5 points ahead of Niall Dowling’s J/111 Arabella. As well as the trophies for IRC Overall and IRC One, Tonnerre will also collect the Stradivarius Trophy for the best overseas yacht.

Alan Paul Trophy – Consistent High Performance in IRC Overall:

Arabella, J/111 – Niall Dowling (GBR)

The Overall results in IRC, with all races to count, were dominated by a few intrepid boats travelling around the country to also take part in the RORC races not run from the Solent. Niall Dowling’s J/111, Arabella was one of these boats, competing in 10 races over the course of the season and winning the Alan Paul Trophy for consistent high performance in IRC Overall.

Europeans Trophy – IRC Zero: Venomous, CM 60 – Derek Saunders (GBR)

IRC Zero went to Derek Saunders and the CM 60, Venomous. By completing five races, they secured their victory from Bob, Rob Gray and Sam Laidlaw’s Farr 52, who came in second.

Bob also win the Peter Harrison Youth Trophy for the season having taken part in all their races with at least 45% of crew under the age of 25.

Trenchemer Cup – IRC One: Tonnerre de Breskens 3, Ker 46 – Piet Vroon (NED)

IRC One was led from the start by Piet Vroon’s Ker 46, Tonnerre de Breskens 3 and despite good attempts from two other Ker designs: Jonathan Goring’s Ker 40, Keronimo and Mike Greville’s Ker 39, Erivale III, they could not be knocked off the top spot.

Keronimo came second in IRC One with Erivale in third. Freddie Neville-Jones, sailing on Erivale was awarded the Duncan Munro Kerr Youth Challenge Trophy for the crew member under 25 who has sailed the greatest number of offshore miles in the season. In total he raced 1,338 nautical miles, including the Rolex Fastnet Race.

Emily Verger Plate – IRC Two: Joopster, J/122 – Neil Kipling (GBR)

In IRC Two Neil Kipling’s J/122, Joopster came in first with a consistent set of results. Second and third place were close with Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48, Scarlet Oyster coming in ahead of Peter Rutter’s Grand Soleil 43, Quokka 8. Scarlet Oyster relished the heavier conditions, especially in the Myth of Malham and Morgan Cup races where she came first in class.

Quokka was crewed by a team from Sailing Logic who missed winning the Roger Justice Trophy for the best sailing school yacht in IRC Overall, after a good result in the Cherbourg Race allowed their fellow Sailing Logic yacht, Visit Malta Puma, to move ahead in the points.

Grenade Goblet – IRC Three: Foggy Dew, JPK 10.10 – Noel Racine (FRA)

IRC Three was won for the second year in a row by Frenchman Noel Racine’s JPK 10.10, Foggy Dew. With four race wins in class this season, the boat was going to be hard to beat from the very beginning. Foggy Dew was raced fully crewed, but the next four boats in the class were all Two-Handed boats, showing the continual increase in popularity of this discipline. Peter Olden and Nigel Pipe, sailing the A 35, Solan Goose of Hamble and Nikki Curwen and Alex Adams, sailing the J/105, Voador came in second and third respectively.

Cowland Trophy – IRC Four: Jean Yves Chateau’s Nicholson 33, Iromiguy (FRA)

IRC Four was also won for the second year in a row by the same French sailor: Jean Yves Chateau’s Nicholson 33, Iromiguy. They had a good finish to the year winning their class in the Rolex Fastnet Race. This result put them ahead of the next two boats in class: Matthias Kracht’s JPK 9.60, Ultreia! and Ian Braham’s MG 346, Engima. Only 5.4 points separated the second and third places at the end of the season.

Psispina Trophy – Two Handed Winners: Ultreia!, JPK 9.60 – Matthias Kracht (FRA)

Ultreia! was beaten to first place in IRC Four, but managed to hold an unbeatable lead in the Two-Handed Class by the final race in the season. They were so confident of the win in this class that they raced fully crewed in the Cherbourg Race to try and win IRC Four as well. Unfortunately for them, Iromiguy held them off for the victory. Nicolas de la Fourniere and Martin Imbert’s X34, Exile/Mirabaud came back from their win in the 2009 season to try to reclaim the Two-Handed trophy, but could only manage second place with Solan Goose coming in third.

The Assuage Trophy: La Réponse, First 40 – Andrew McIrvine (GBR)

The Assuage Trophy is a championship for RORC members and is awarded to the yacht with the best results from the Cherbourg Race plus 3 other races from the Cervantes Trophy, Morgan Cup, Myth of Malham and Cowes-Dinard-St Malo races. This year the trophy has been won by the RORC Commodore, Andrew McIrvine, with his First 40, La Réponse. Much to the joy of the crew who were disappointed to come fourth in IRC Two, only half a point behind Quokka, after retiring with gear failure from the Rolex Fastnet Race.

A full list of the annual trophies and awards can be found HERE.  These will be presented at the RORC Annual Dinner held at the Banqueting House in Whitehall on Saturday 19th November.

Yacht Racing Image of the Year 2011 to be awarded at World Yacht Racing Forum

October 11, 2011

The best yacht racing photograph of 2011 will once again be awarded during the World Yacht Racing Forum by the event’s Gold Partner MIRABAUD. Professional yacht racing photographers from around the world are invited to submit their best yacht racing image from 2011 before Monday 31st October to enter the  ‘Yacht Racing Image of the Year 2011’ organised by the World Yacht Racing Forum and presented by WYRF Gold Partner Mirabaud & Cie, banquiers privés.

WINNER - Yacht Racing Images 2010 sponsored by Mirabaud Bank. Photo copyright Thierry Martinez

WINNER - Yacht Racing Images 2010 sponsored by Mirabaud Bank. Photo copyright Thierry Martinez

Yacht Racing Image of the Year 2011 to be awarded at World Yacht Racing Forum

Yacht Racing Image of the Year 2011 to be awarded at World Yacht Racing Forum

A shortlist of the best selected images will be displayed on the forum website and Facebook page from 5th November where viewers will be asked to vote for their favourite image.  The selected images will then be printed and displayed in the networking lounge at the World Yacht Racing Forum. Delegates will also be asked to vote for their favourite image during the event and the winning image and photographer will be announced on the second day of the Forum, Wednesday 14th December.

“The Yacht Racing Image of the Year 2011 gives us the opportunity to celebrate the photographer who best portrays the essence of yacht racing”, commented Antonio Palma, Partner and CEO of Mirabaud. “The sport of sailing is at the heart of our passion for human relations, technology and high performance, three themes that are particularly dear to us in the world of banking and finance. The photo award is the visual expression of our passion. We look forward to seeing this exhibition and to be once again part of the World Yacht Racing Forum.”

The ‘Yacht Racing Image of the Year 2011’ is open to professional photographers only. Mirabaud has been involved in international yacht racing for many years, notably through its sponsorship of the Bol d’Or Mirabaud, Thomas Jundt’s hydrofoil prototype, the Mirabaud LX, the Swiss Sailing Night and the World Yacht Racing Forum. Mirabaud is also Dominique Wavre’s main partner for the Transat Jacques Vabre 2011 and the Vendée Globe 2012-13.

Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2012

October 11, 2011

Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2011 was hailed as the most successful and satisfying in the event’s spectacular 28-year history. Entered in the 2011 Audi Hamilton Island Race Week were 195 racing yachts – ranging from small cruisers to record-breaking supermaxis – and some impressive superyachts on the water. Then, when the sailing was done, crews, families, friends and island guests sampled the most impressive on-shore party and social agenda imaginable.

View of the fleet at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - Day 2 - Sunday 21 August 2011. Photo by Hamilton Island Photography.

View of the fleet at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - Day 2 - Sunday 21 August 2011. Photo by Hamilton Island Photography.

There were numerous highlights throughout the week, but none more so than the presence of the world’s oldest sporting trophy, America’s Cup, and the current Cup winning skipper, Australia’s Jimmy Spithill. And while the sailing scene was incredibly exciting, thanks to the presence of a solid south-easterly tradewind for much of the week, there was a most impressive array of familiar and friendly faces across the party schedule, including Naomi Watts, Megan Gale, Tom Williams, Matt Moran, Shanon Bennett, Catriona Rowntree, Sandra Sully and Mark Beretta.

The America’s Cup welcomed to Audi Hamilton Island Race Week by Bob Oatley, Jimmy Spithill, and Iain Murray. Photo by Andrea Francolini Audi image

The America’s Cup welcomed to Audi Hamilton Island Race Week by Bob Oatley, Jimmy Spithill, and Iain Murray. Photo by Andrea Francolini Audi image

Everyone was impressed by the week’s sailing and social activities, and it was the man who brought the Cup to the regatta, 30-year America’s Cup legend Tom Ehman, who summed up the week perfectly: ‘Hamilton Island Race Week is the best kept secret in the world of yachting. The organisers of any major race week should look at how Hamilton Island makes this more than a sailing event: it’s also a social and cultural happening. Through resources, imagination and hard work it has really come into its own.’

See for yourself by watching this impressive, 5-minute Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2011 highlights package.

The America’s Cup is welcomed to Audi Hamilton Island Race Week by island owner and veteran yachtsman, Bob Oatley, Cup winning skipper Jimmy Spithill, and Hamilton Island Yacht Club Commodore, Iain Murray. (Andrea Francolini/Audi image)

Magnificent social events, like the release of a new range by Collette Dinningan, are among the many and varied onshore activities at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week.

Sailing yacht Esimit Europa 2 wins 43rd Barcolana Regatta – the Largest Regatta in the World

October 10, 2011

The Esimit Europa 2 sailing yacht has won the 43rd Barcolana regatta among the 1761 entrants and thousands of spectators, completing the 16,5-miles long course in 58 minutes and 5 seconds. Weather conditions with winds up to 24 knots were favourable for European flagged maxi yacht, which sails under the patronage of Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, and with Gazprom as her main sponsor.

Sailing yacht Esimit Europa 2 wins 43rd Barcolana Regatta - the Largest Regatta in the World

Sailing yacht Esimit Europa 2 wins 43rd Barcolana Regatta - the Largest Regatta in the World

Owner of the yacht, Igor Simčič, and his all-star crew, composed by the best sailors from six European countries, started off perfectly and immediately took the lead, sailing on average at about 15 to 20 knots. The yacht’s victory in a fantastic atmosphere in Trieste was very well deserved – the experienced team, skippered by a legendary German sailor Jochen Schümann, prepared a great strategy, therefore victory at the largest single-start regatta in the world was not put under the question mark at any stage of the race. The team’s success was endorsed by the crowd of a few hundred people at the dockside, including members of the European Parliament, ambassadors from different European countries and chairmen of some of the largest European enterprises.

“First of all I would like to congratulate this amazing crew, who went beyond their possibilities to win for Europe again. I dedicate the victory to all sailing enthusiasts, ambassadors, diplomats and businessmen, who came to Trieste to see what can be done with cooperation and complete dedication to the common goals. Europe needs winning symbols more than ever and Esimit Europa 2 proves for almost two years that by joining their forces Europeans can achieve supreme results”, said Igor Simčič, owner of the Esimit Europa 2 yacht.

“The crew has been practicing the manoeuvres over the past week in the Gulf of Trieste, therefore got a chance to become familiar with sea and weather specifics of this area. Together with the rest of afterguard, Juan Vila as navigator, Vasilij Žbogar, Sidney Gavignet as tacticians and Alberto Bolzan behind the helm, we have prepared great tactics, which very well paid off. We really got maximum out of it. Congratulations also to the rest of the crew, it was a privilege and honour to share this amazing experience with them”, added Jochen Schümann, skipper of the Esimit Europa 2 yacht.

The last regatta on the schedule of Esimit Europa 2 for this season is the 606-mile offshore Rolex Middle Sea Race, which will start in Grand Harbour in Malta on 22 October. As one of the most demanding and competitive regattas in Europe, it will guarantee a unique experience for the yacht as well as for the crew.

Quantum Racing wins 2011 World 2011 Audi TP52 World Championships

October 10, 2011

With a second and first on the final day of racing at the Audi TP52 World Championship off the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda Ed Baird and the crew of sailing yacht Quantum Racing lifted their third world TP52 world title from four challenges.

Quantum Racing 08 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico Martinez WSM

Quantum Racing 08 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico Martinez WSM

They added to worlds wins in 2008 in Lanzarote and defended the title they won last year Valencia.  Emerging with a four points margin over Germany’s sailing yacht Container, the American flagged Quantum team complete the same ‘double’ as they did in 2008, winning both the Audi MedCup Circuit title as well as the World Championship.

Sailing yacht Quatum Racing wins Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico Martinez WSM

Sailing yacht Quatum Racing wins Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico Martinez WSM

With tactician Adrian Stead (GBR) combining with new navigator Francesco Mongelli (ITA) Quantum Racing were consistent across the very different wind conditions, from the very light sub 10kts conditions of the first three days of racing to a useful fourth in the strong early morning Mistral of Friday, to their final flourish in today’s moderate 7-11kts.

In paying tribute to team owner Doug De Vos, who was on hand to enjoy their success, Quantum Racing’s inspirational project manager Ed Reynolds, architect behind each of their wins, commented:

“Each of these world titles has been about a quintessential team performance, with two different teams of different characteristics and styles with no major, standout star names in either but unified in the level of results, and that is really down to Doug De Vos for putting the resources to give us good solid teams.”

Tactician Stead who called the shots successfully last season in Valencia, smiled:

“ It is splendid.”

” It is a great way to finish the season. We had a tense Audi MedCup, we have been really pleased with the way that we have sailed here against boats which have been in their conditions in the form of Gladiator and Paramount Park. Everyone has been pushing pretty hard.”

Udo Schuetz’ Container with skipper-helm Markus Wieser (GER) and his crew, augmented at this regatta by Kiwi mainsheet trimmer Don Cowie, came out on the final day with their strongest finishes of the late season.

Sailing yacht Container 08 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico MartinezWSM

Sailing yacht Container 08 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico MartinezWSM

Their 2,1,2 over the last three races of the season a secured them second place overall and shook off some of the disappointment of their lacklustre finishes in Cartagena and Barcelona.

Wieser attributed a large measure of their success to completely changing their rig set up under the advice of Cowie who won the Audi MedCup Circuit title twice as mainsheet trimmer with Emirates Team New Zealand. Wieser said:

“We are happy that it finished up like this, it was a long season and the last two regattas we hard with no boatspeed. But here we changed everything, a complete new set up with Don Cowie, and we had boat speed again and could be more aggressive in the way we sailed. We were so slow in Cartagena. But second here is good.”

Tony Langley’s British crew on Gladiator, surprise early leaders of these world championship, held on to third place overall with their third place in what  proved to be the final race, completing the podium by virtue of a better tie-break than the Spanish Paramount Park Murcia.

Langley commended the approach of their tactician, Melges 32 world title winning Chris Larson:

“What was great was the attitude he came with. He came to me and said ‘I really think we can win this’ and that mental attitude was really refreshing and we really set out to try and do that. So that was a big change really. Nacho (Postigo) stepped in and did a really nice job with us too.”

Three different boats lead the world championship over different days, but Quantum Racing were on solid form in the light-moderate conditions and today’s leftover sloppy seas. The breeze was shifting up to 30 degrees and there were big changes in wind pressure, between 5 and 11kts. Although there was breeze mid to later afternoon it proved too unsettled to run a third race, leaving Quantum Racing to enjoy their celebrations.

Container won the first race after starting close to the right hand committee boat end of the start line, showing good speed in the testing conditions Quantum Racing were unable to catch them with Audi Azzurra Sailing Team taking third.

In the second race Container led at the top windward mark with a beautiful layline call from the top left of the course by navigator Marc Lagesse (RSA) and tactician Hamish Pepper (NZL) until the leeward gate when Quantum Racing took the right hand gate mark and split to the right and gained 1 minute and 17 secs on Container on the second beat.

For Gladiator, third in the final race proved critical as it gave them the superior tie break over Ignacio Triay (ESP) and the Paramount Park Murcia (ESP) crew.  Langley wins the Owner-Driver trophy.

Sail Yacht Gladiator 08 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico MartinezWSM

Sail Yacht Gladiator 08 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico MartinezWSM

Audi TP52 World Championship, Yacht Club Costa Smerelda, Sardinia

FINAL RESULTS

1. Quantum Racing (USA) 1+3+5+1+4+2+1= 17 points

2. Container (GER) 2+7+3+4+2+1+2= 21 points

3. Gladiator (GBR) 3+1+4+2+6+5+3= 24 points

4. Paramount Park Murcia (ESP) 4+2+1+3+5+4+5= 24 points

5. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (IT) 5+4+7+6+1+3+7= 33 points

6. RÁN (SWE) 6+5+2+5+ 8 (DNF)+6+6= 38 points

7. Audi ALL4ONE (GER/FRA) 7+6+6+7+3+7+4= 40 points

Owner Driver trophy for Tony Langley, Gladiator.

Sailing yacht fleet 08 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico MartinezWSM

Sailing yacht fleet 08 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico MartinezWSM

Quotes:

Adrian Stead (GBR) tactician Quantum Racing (USA):

“It is splendid, a really good day to finish on. It was pretty tricky with the breeze moving between 20 to 30 degrees, puffy and we made the best out of it. Container got away in the first race a little and so we made sure we got a good second place. In the second race we split with Container at the gate and we managed to extend on the second beat which was great.

It is a great way to finish the season. We had a tense Audi MedCup, we have been really pleased with the way that we have sailed here against boats which really have been in their conditions in the form of Gladiator and Paramount Park. Everyone has been pushing pretty hard. Container have been lurking there all week, their OCS in race 2 there was no way back and that was costly, but that just goes to show how tight the fleet is.

If there had been a bit more breeze this week Audi Azzurra Sailing Team and Audi ALL4ONE would have been in the frame too.

I think it is great that we have come and defended. In a couple of the light races we were definitely on the back foot, especially race 3. We had to be strong after our fifth. It was a tense MedCup.We overachieved in Cascais, we missed a few tricks with our sails, with our communication which meant we narrowly lost in Marseille. The game moved on in Cagliari definitely.

And there was always the potential of not knowing if it would be a four or five race series or an eight or nine race series. There was pretty of looking out for each other, but for me the turning point of the regatta was the light air race in bomb alley, being able to beat Gladiator and Parmount Park Murica in that really light stuff really made the difference.”

Markus Wieser (GER) skipper-helm Container (GER):

“We are happy that it finished up like this, it was a long season and the last two regattas we hard with no boatspeed. But here we changed everything, a complete new set up with Don Cowie, and we had boat speed again and could be more aggressive in the way we sailed. We were so slow in Cartagena. But second here is good. We knew we could do better than we did in the past and had the better boat speed to do it. The only shock was the OCS which pushed us back but we finished the regattas with 2,1,2 and proved that Quantum Racing are beatable. With more preparation we can get there. Don will be back with us next year with some new sail designs planned, we will back fully motivated. Quantum have shown they are the team to beat.”

Tony Langley (GBR), owner-helm Gladiator (GBR):

“We are really pleased with third. If you had told me at the start of the week we would be third I would never have believed you. But here we are. We are pleased because we sailed well. We took some real steps backwards during the season at Palma Vela and in Barcelona. But we made some changes and I think they have really paid off. It really sets us up for next year.

Chris (Larson) really was good for us. What was great was the attitude he came with. He came to me and said ‘I really think we can win this’ and that mental attitude was really refreshing and we really set out to try and do that. So that was a big change really. Nacho (Postigo) stepped in and did a really nice job with us too.”

“I feel like we are just so far ahead of where we were at the beginning of the season at Palma Vela. So I’m looking forward to next season.”

Ed Reynolds (USA) project manager Quantum Racing (USA):

“What can I say. With fewer boats you would think it would get easier but it always gets more difficult. This really was not easy in the conditions, but I think the team sailed an awesome regatta. They did what they had to do, focusing most of all on being fast all the time. They were good at setting the modes in the different conditions and moving between them. Ado Stead sailed brilliantly with some good start and really following the plans we talked about.

Each of these world titles have been about a quintessential team performance, with two different teams of different characteristics and styles with no major, standout star names  in either but unified in the level of results, and that is really down to Doug De Vos for putting the resources to give us good solid teams.

Francesco Mongelli has been a fantastic addition to the team here. In fact both tall Francesco (coach De Angelis) and short Francesco (Mongelli, navigator) have been great here. Little Francesco added a whole different dynamic, visibly excited to be with the team and his energy was infectious, he was so proud to be with the team that it was infectious.”

2011 Audi TP52 World Championships – Day 4

October 10, 2011

Azzurra ride the Mistral to win Race 5 – Quantum Racing lead into final day.

When the Mistral whistled in to break the deadlock at the top of the Audi TP52 World Championship off Costa Smeralda early on the fourth day of racing it was the local team on Azzurra which won, but fourth place for Quantum Racing allows the current world champions to move one point clear in the title race which will be decided Saturday.

Sailing yacht Azzura, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico Martinez WSM

Sailing yacht Azzura, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico Martinez WSM

Audi Azzurra Sailing Team lead at the windward mark on the first round, with already more than 25kts of wind blowing and more threatening. The team which sails under the colours of the host club, the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, were first to break to the right on the upwind and were able to lead Container with Audi ALL4ONE and Quantum Racing overlapped for third and fourth.

Sailing yacht Azzura, 07 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico Martinez WSM

Sailing yacht Azzura, 07 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico Martinez WSM

A small problem on the kite drop on Azzurra at the end of the testing downwind allowed Container through to lead up the second beat. Paramount Park Murcia gybed early on the rollercoaster ride of a run and picked up a huge gust which they rode down the left side of the run and were challenging for second before they lost control. After suffering mainsail problems pre-start RAN started late and retired after the first run.

Azzurra’s tactician Vasco Vascotto managed to fight back to get control of the right in the very muscular conditions, with good speed and power in the strong conditions, and were just able to cross Container at the top of the second beat. With the wind gusting over 35kts the race team shortened the course at the top mark.

Yacht Container 07 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico MartinezWSM

Yacht Container 07 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico MartinezWSM

With Container second Audi ALL4ONE took third and Quantum Racing fourth, all four top boats finished within 20 seconds. Key for the Audi backed boats was their choice of smaller code 4 jibs.

In the overall standings going into the final day of racing Quantum Racing lead by one point ahead of Paramount Park Murcia on 15pts after they finished fifth today, with Gladiator now dropped to third on 16pts.

Yacht Gladiator 07 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico MartinezWSM

Yacht Gladiator 07 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico MartinezWSM

After starting at 0900hrs the fleet reached the dock by 1010hrs with no further racing for the day with the Mistral hitting nearly 40kts at times.

Audi TP52 World Championship Yacht Club Costa Smeralda

Results after 5 races:

1. Quantum Racing (USA) 1+3+5+1+4= 14 points

2. Paramount Park Murcia (ESP) 4+2+1+3+5= 15 points

3. Gladiator (GBR) 3+1+4+2+6= 16 points

4. Container (GER) 2+7+3+4+2= 18 points

5. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (IT) 5+4+7+6+1= 23 points

6. RÁN (SWE) 6+5+2+5+ 8 (DNF)= 26 points

7. Audi ALL4ONE (GER/FR) 7+6+6+7+3= 29 points

Sailing yacht fleet 07 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico MartinezWSM

Sailing yacht fleet 07 10 2011, Audi TP52 World Championship © Nico MartinezWSM

Quotes:

Ed Reynolds (USA) project manager Quantum Racing (USA):

“It really was a day for getting the boat around the course. The light airs boats really struggled and there were a couple of sail handling things out there. It is always worrisome in these conditions, can you outlast everybody. It sounds boring but to be average today and get the boat around the course was good. We would really have liked that one more run because we might have been able to get another point or two, but you can never, ever question Maria the race officer. In all the years I have done this if she says you can’t sail in this then you can’t sail in it.

Vasco Vascotto, (ITA) tactician Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA):

“It was important to win, for all the crew and the people here at the club, It was pretty windy really.

The retrieval system did not work first time and in these winds at these speeds if it does not work you are in trouble quickly. We had a good recovery – it was not an ideal manoeuvre but it worked and we got around the mark, staying close to Container and Jochen Schuemann on Audi ALL4ONE and that allowed us to get back on the second beat and go on to win.

We are very happy, the first three days were very, very light breeze and even if we sailed well and did not make many mistakes, the boat is not so fast to help us in the light winds.”

Hamish Pepper (NZL) tactician Container (GER):

“Azzurra sailed pretty well, they made only that one mistake at the bottom mark, we managed to get around them, but they were going quicker up that beat. It has been an interesting regatta, all very close with the top three and we are nipping at their heels and so the last day will be fun.”

Adrian Stead (GBR) tactician Quantum Racing (USA):

“It was a great decision to get out and race early and get a race in which puts less pressure on the last day. It is still very open and even Container with their second today are only four points behind us. For the light winds boats Gladiator and Paramount Park today’s conditions were more detrimental for them.

We nearly changed to the number 4 jib and might have been better for us, but the key thing for us was at the top mark first time up when we were not rolling the red boat (Audi ALL4ONE) at the windward mark and that meant they really controlled us down the run. But we were right in there to finish. As we approached the line we were bow to bow with Container, but there was just no room to do anything, it would have been pretty punchy in these conditions.”